The Annual Heritage BBQ, a Pig Roast with 5 San Francisco Chefs

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When you think of a pig roast, you probably don’t think of a chef running through a brewery with raw meat in his hands enticing you to taste his “pork”. The Cochon Heritage BBQ event was held in San Francisco on Sunday, September 13, 2015 at the Magnolia Brewing Company to celebrate the best of pork. It is an annual competition promoting heritage breed pigs and global grilling cultures.

The event includes 5 chefs each cooking one whole heritage pig from a family farm for a group of 20 notable judges (and us attendees of course). Chefs have seven days to prepare one whole pig and present to the judges, consisting of 6 dishes scored on utilization, global influences, cooking techniques and overall flavor. The winner is crowned the BBQ King or Queen and takes home over $3,000 in prizes.

The fun part about the event is tasting of course and the fact that it’s not all about pigs and pork, although truth be told, it is the main focus of the event. The chef’s this year included Michael Lee Rafidi of RN74 (I attended their grand opening press event awhile back), Dennis Lee of Smokestack / Namu Ganji, Geoff Davis of The Dock, Nicolai Lipscomb of the Battery (they stole our palettes btw), and John Madriaga from Spruce. Alongside pork all night long, they were pouring whiskey (smoked of course), wine (mostly Pinot from Northern California), mixed drinks, craft draft beer and other cocktails.

In the back of the brewery, the chefs and helpers were busy cutting meat and preparing it for more eating…..after all, we were there for 4-5 hours.

The small bites that they gave us to sample were delicious!

There was as much raw meat as there was cooked spread out through the brewery.

Below, Battery’s Chef Nicolai Lipscomb serves up his bites.

I have to admit despite my love of pork and so many of the dishes I sampled, the oyster preparation by Revival Bar and Kitchen aka @revivalbarandkitchen, which I tweeted out in real time. It was orgasmic, prepared with cilantro, pomegranate and a spicy broth, topped with chopped peanuts. It was to die for!

The idea was to go from table to table, sampling from the best of the best.

Another call out goes to Dubwich for his out of this world spare ribs – he and his wife were working their tails off to deliver top notch pork to hundreds of attendees all night long.

While not in the pork category, Chef Jeff Weiss was sharing Monterey Bay Sardine Espetos with escabeche carrots, parsley and garlic oil. Espetos are a traditional way of cooking freshly caught fish in Andalucia, where he lived for awhile. The fish are speared on a long, flat stick (the espeto) and barbequed over a hot fire on the beach. It was delish! Two thumbs up!

Here’s my tweet on the evening of the event, of this chopped #pork #Carolina style w/#Asian #pear + #apple by a #Korean chef from #Boston @NamuSF – YUM! #HeritageBBQ

The Dock was serving Cochinita Pibil Tacos, Grilled Al Pastor Pork Chops with compressed pineapple, charred scallions and jus, a Posole Verde with cabbage, cilantro and radish, a Tamarind Glazed Ribs & Belly smoked over pecan, jicama, chile de arbol and grapefruit zest, Refried cranberry beans (Yum) with liver, epazote cured backfat and queso fresco and a Chorizo spiced face with grilled avocado puree, marinated clams, fermented fresno chili and red mustard with seaweed. So creatively done!

Fun, fun, fun! We would definitely do this again. Put it on your calendar for next year.




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